Embrace adventure in a world of vast lakes, ancient ridges and ranges, rare pink diamonds and huge stations. It’s easy to see why the place was called Kununurra - it means ‘big water’ in the language of Aboriginal tribes who have roamed this landscape for thousands of years. There’s something about wild, remote Kununurra that fires the spirit of adventure in even the most timid of travelers. It could be the blue skies, scorching red soil and rugged bush scenery, or the fact it is the gateway to the East Kimberley and some of Western Australia’s remarkable natural attractions. From here you can visit World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park and the beehive-shaped towers of the Bungle Bungle range, thought to be 350 million years old. Or see their miniature versions in amongst the amphitheaters, gullies and ridges of Mirima National Park. You can take a helicopter over the mighty OrdRiver and man-made Lake Argyle, which is large enough to be classified as an inland sea. Trek Mitchell Plateau and see the majestic Mitchell Falls – a series of four waterfalls – cascade over layers of rock into a deep pool. Then visit the Argyle Diamond Mine and see the rare pink diamonds extracted from this ancient rock each year.
In spite of all its apparent isolation, Kununurra is an interesting, modern town which came into existence in the early 1960s as a construction Centre for the Ord River Scheme and the creation of the majestic Lake Argyle. The eastern gateway to the Kimberley and the home of outback adventure, it has a population of approximately 6,000 people. It is well serviced with a modern hospital, leisure and aquatic Centre, specialty shops, air and ground passenger services. The construction companies and local council have created a modern town Centre which boasts an excellent swimming pool-leisure Centre complex, a substantial Commonwealth Bank, a delightful ‘traditional Australian’ broad veranda-head Post Office and a number of large supermarkets.
Kununurra puts you at the heart of the East Kimberley action. Take a helicopter flight over one of the world’s most unique ranges – the Bungle Bungle Range. Cruise the wildlife rich waters of a manmade lake so huge it’s classed as an inland sea. Follow in the tracks of pioneering legends along the Gibb River Road, chase the mighty barramundi, or gain a true connection to country with one of the oldest surviving cultures on Earth. From Perth, it’s a three hour flight to Kununurra. Or, you can fly into Broome from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane and take the sealed road or short flight east to Kununurra. Those keen to make the journey part of the adventure should hit the trail of Australia’s most unique four wheel drive experience – the Gibb River Road – leading you 660 kilometres through spectacular wilderness.
While Kununurra is a relatively young outback town, it sits on ancient lands and takes its name from the local Indigenous word meaning ‘big water’. Today, the waters and wetlands of Lake Kununurra and neighbouring Lake Argyle – the largest manmade lake in the southern hemisphere – make it a mecca for water sports and wildlife enthusiasts, with many cruising, fishing and canoeing tours available. To the south lies the captivating Bungle Bungle Range of World Heritage listed Purnululu National Park. More than 350 million years in the making and remaining hidden from the world until 1983, it’s one of the best kept secrets in history. Closer to town is Mirima National Park (often referred to as the mini Bungle Bungle Range), along with 600 million year old Zebra Rock, Kelly’s Knob Lookout (the top spot for sunsets) and the local’s favourite summer swimming hole, Black Rock Falls. Stroll through Kununurra and browse the Indigenous art galleries, jewellers and sandalwood crafts, stopping for a taste of the region’s flavours at a café, pub or perhaps the local distillery.
Kununurra 4WD Hire – Must See Destinations:
The Kimberley’s in Australia is one of the last true wilderness areas on Earth, with iconic outback landscapes and undiscovered secrets billions of years in the making. Covering nearly 423,000 square kilometres in north WA, with a population of less than 40,000 people, it’s here you’ll encounter some of the most extraordinary outback adventures in Australia. Discover ancient gorge country, vast cattle stations, pristine castaway beaches, one of the oldest surviving cultures on Earth and the world’s only horizontal waterfalls.
The legendary Gibb River Road Top Trail is an icon of outback adventure through the heart of the Kimberley in Western Australia’s North West. The moderate 660 kilometre dirt track passes through remote station country with magnificent scenery and plenty of opportunities to get out of your vehicle to discover one of the many fresh water gorges. See freshwater crocodiles in the Windjana Gorge National Park and swim, bushwalk and camp at Lennard and Bell Gorges. Take a scenic flight over Mitchell Falls and the vast Mitchell Plateau. Stay on the one million acre El Questro Wilderness Park. From here you can go horse trekking, get up close to Kimberley wildlife and boat down Chamberlain Gorge past towering escarpments and Wandjina rock art. You could even take in the sights on a mountain bike for the Brisbane to Broome Charity Bike Ride. However you take on this outback challenge, remember it’s one that needs planning.
The Gibb River Road leads you through a land of sweeping plains and rugged ranges. It’s the very land our national anthem sings off. The Kimberley rock formations & ranges change colour right before your eyes as the sun slowly shifts on its journey west. Along its entire length, deep creviced gorges provide picture postcard vistas as seasonal rains cascade down waterfalls to the cool crystal clear rock pools that settle below. The Kimberley is full of spectacular & picturesque gorges, waterfalls, rivers, ranges, rock pools, wildlife and people to experience and enjoy with each location as unique and as memorable as the last.
Two of Australia’s greatest 4WD Hire Adventures can be found here: The Savannah Way between Broome and Darwin via Kununurra and the 660 kilometre Gibb River Road. Derby, east of Broome, is the base for exploring the Buccaneer Archipelago – a thousand or so islands scattered across the Timor Sea.
Today, Fitzroy Crossing in WA is a great base to explore Tunnel Creek National Park and Windjana Gorge National Park. It’s also the gateway to the Geikie Gorge National Park, a spectacular waterway with soaring weathered cliffs and abundant wildlife. Indigenous tours also offer an excellent insight to local Indigenous history and culture, including bush tucker and medicine.
Located in the east of the Kimberley and extending for approximately 80 kilometres north-south and 60km east-west, the station totals just under 1,000,000 acres in size. El Questro Homestead is an exclusive luxe retreat for maximum 18 guests, perched on a cliff top overlooking the Chamberlain River and Gorge. The El Questro Wilderness Park in Western Australia’s remote East Kimberley region brings to life an ancient land with an extraordinary diversity of landscapes. Here rugged sandstone ranges and deep weathered gorges surrender to pockets of rainforest and picturesque waterfalls. Covering one million acres, the El Questro Wilderness Park is five times the size of the island of Tasmania and around the size of a small European country. Around the fresh water springs and lazy salt-water estuaries in the northern part of the property, an abundance of Australian animals, fish and bird life gather. Take a private cruise or swim in the clear fresh waters. Soak in hot springs, or trek on horse-back and see the countryside from a new vantage point.
This May, head to Kununurra for the Ord Valley Muster, a vibrant two-week celebration of East Kimberley life. You’ll join thousands of friendly locals at more than 50 events across the region’s rugged and magical landscapes. Dress up for a 4WD adventure bash, swim across Lake Argyle or mountain bike along the Gibb River Road. Taste fresh Kimberley produce and enjoy Aboriginal music and dance. Get swept away in a street party, dig for diamonds or watch rough-riders at a rodeo. Not-to-be-missed is the Kimberley Moon – the flagship music concert on the banks of the Ord River. It’s a three hour flight north from Perth to Kununurra, the gateway to the wild, sweeping landscapes of the Kimberley. The region is most famous for its striking natural attractions such as the beehive-shaped towers of the Bungle Bungle range, vast Lake Argyle, the Ord River and cascading waterfalls of the Mitchell Plateau. Harder to portray on a postcard is the warmth, hospitality and maverick attitude of the locals – traits you’ll fully appreciate during the Ord Valley Muster.
Nestled in the far north-west of Western Australia, the Bungle Bungle range in the World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park is one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. For more than 350 million years, nature’s forces have shaped these mysterious geological features in this prehistoric landscape. Apart from the local Kija Aboriginal community, few people knew they existed until the 1980s. The giant orange and black striped domes rise out of the ground creating a bewildering landscape unlike anything you have ever seen. One of the best ways to appreciate the scale of this natural wonder is on a scenic flight. As you sweep over the range, the intricate maze of tiger-striped domes reveal a hidden world of narrow, sheer-sided gorges lined with majestic palms and seasonal waterfalls and calm pools. According to Aboriginal Dreamtime legends, the amazing beehive-like domes that form the Bungle Ranges were created by the Rainbow Serpent as she slithered across the landscape. Aboriginal people have used the area for their sacred rituals for around 20 000 years.
Cruise or fish the expansive, wildlife-rich waters of Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, the biggest manmade lake in the southern hemisphere. Created by the Ord River Dam, it’s classified as an inland sea and at its peak in the green season Lake Argyle holds a staggering 32 million cubic metres of water. That’s more than 20 times the size of Sydney Harbour.
4WD Travel, Adventure and Camping
The wide open wilderness areas and warm climate of the Kimberley region make them ideal destinations for caravan and camping holidays. Major town centres have a range of caravan parks and camping grounds. The main season is between May and September, so you need to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Start planning your holiday with Kununurra 4WD Hire and search for caravan parks and camping grounds.
Best travelled after the wet season rains have gone it is generally April/May when they reopen “the Gibb” to vehicles. A good deal of the wet season rains still flow early in the season so those out early will experience creek crossovers on the drive and waterfalls that make for spectacular reward at the end of each short walk. The Gibb River Road closes when seasonal rains commence in December/January. Always check current road conditions and warnings before you start your journey. Click here to see today’s Main Roads Kimberley. The first thing you need to plan for your road trip is a vehicle. A 4WD is highly recommended. If you are taking your own vehicle, make absolutely sure it is road worthy. Remember you have already driven your vehicle a long way to get here and if you break down on “The Gibb” parts are not readily available and towing is bloody expensive.
If you want to hire a camper trailer, camping equipment, baby seats or cots, satellite phone, extra spare tyre, jerry can or anything else needed for your journey click on links Broome, Derby or Kununurra.
National Park Camping Sites
National Parks have serviced camp areas, many with onsite rangers, designated generator and non-generator sites, fresh water, toilets and shower facilities. These areas may have restrictions on length of stay and park fees may apply. See the Department of Parks and Wildlife website for more information about national park camping sites and fees. There can be huge distances between townships so you may have to camp on private properties or Aboriginal lands, make sure you obtain permission and permits before entering the area. Some roads are not suitable for towing a caravan and there are camping restrictions in certain areas. Please check road conditions and permit requirements with the local visitor centre before you set off on your journey.
Kununurra 4WD Hire
welcomes you to explore one of the most pristine places on the planet.
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http:// www.australi asnorthwest.com/ Travel_information /Visitor_centres
Australian 4WD Hire has a national wide network of agencies which are strategically positioned in close proximity to all famous tourism destination and hot spots, as well as major regional and capital cities throughout Australia so you are never far from a pick up point or friendly service to make your trip to Kununurra a memorable one.
Australian 4WD Hire is renowned for meticulously maintained vehicles and quality service. Our fleet is constantly being updated to ensure you enjoy the best in comfort and safety making it the ideal choice for your next self-drive adventure. 4WD Tourism is one of the best ways to see the sights of Australia and it offers you the freedom & flexibility to discover the outdoors at your own pace.
Some sections of roads are suitable for 4WD vehicles only. Take plenty of water on all Outback Trips. Check distances and driving conditions and ensure you have adequate fuel at all times. Remember Outback Rule “Number 1” – if your Vehicle breaks down you MUST stay with your Vehicle for safety reasons. Required driving times for 4WD on unsealed roads are longer, ensure you allow adequate time. During the ‘wet season’ from October to April, vehicles cannot access the 4WD only / unsealed roads. Plan your itinerary in advance to avoid disappointment.